Insulate yourself from future problems

Insulate yourself from future problems

Cold, damp houses are a serious problem in New Zealand, causing health issues for thousands of people around the country. With new legislation on the horizon (and considering the winter that we’ve been having), insulation is a hot topic in the property world.

There are roughly 450,000 rental properties in Auckland, about 180,000 of which aren’t insulated. Recent policy changes mean that all rental properties will need to adhere to a “warrant of fitness” by 2019. To meet the new standards, all rental properties must be properly insulated, providing a warm, dry environment for their inhabitants.

Installing insulation into rental properties will create a fair bit of work for landlords and property managers, and the change hasn’t been without its naysayers. However, long term, providing proper insulation will have significant health, social and economic benefits, both for those that live in rental properties, and those that own them.

It’s not just renters who benefit from well insulated homes either. Good insulation reduces both dampness and noise, keeps homes cool in summer and costs less to heat, making is essential for a healthy family home. The warm, dry environment provided by a well-insulated home is especially important for kids, who are at increased risk of developing respiratory conditions like asthma when living in damp or cold environments. If left unchecked, these can develop into illnesses like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), so prevention is the best solution.

Many people think insulation only relates to walls and ceilings, but the reality is that full insulation that covers all areas of a home will be much more effective. When installing insulation, it’s worth addressing all of the following areas:

1. Ceiling
2. Underfloor
3. Walls
4. Windows

If your home has no underfloor insulation, it’s best to install some – you’ll really notice the difference. Installing insulation into ceilings and floors can be done without building consent, however, consent is required for the retrofitting of wall insulation.

And if any pre-existing insulation has been damaged, replacing it will make a big difference to the temperature and comfort of your home. While not especially common in New Zealand, double glazing is extremely worthwhile, as it helps to regulate your homes temperature, and keeps out a lot of noise (a huge bonus if you live near the road!)

There’s no denying that installing this kind of full insulation is pricy, but it’s worth the investment too. Your home or rental property will be comfortable and quiet all year round, vastly increasing its market value and making it much more desirable to live in.

2019 may seem like a long time away, but as the date creeps closer, demand for insulation will increase. A lot of housing, especially in Auckland, requires better insulation, and just because a property owner or agent claims that a property is fully insulated, that doesn’t mean that it is. Check all of the areas of the house from the ceiling and underfloor, to the walls and windows. If you’d like a professional assessment, I’m happy to examine insulation (or lack thereof) and provide recommendations, as part of your property inspection.

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